Reducing your use of animal products is getting easier with more fortified and nutritious plant-based foods available. The right plant-based foods can be excellent sources of protein and other nutrients, often with fewer calories than animal products. The following healthy, plant-based foods are just 10 of our favorites having a high-protein content per serving. We shared these because most are familiar, most are easy to find and all are easy to prepare.
1 – Seaweed
Seaweed contains 10X the nutrition over other plant-based foods. It has so many good things beyond supplying protein – read our overview on Seaweed to find out. Spirulina is blue or green algae that contain around 8 g of protein per 2 tablespoons, and is one of the best for supplying protein. Spirulina is available as a powder or a supplement. It can be added to water, smoothies, or fruit juice. You can also sprinkle it over salad or snacks to increase their protein content.
2 – Tofu, Tempeh, and Edamame
Soy products are among the richest sources of protein in a plant-based diet. The protein content varies with how the soy is prepared:
– Firm tofu (soybean curds) contains about 10 g of protein per ½ cup
– Edamame beans (immature soybeans) contain 8.5 g of protein per ½ cup
– Tempeh contains about 15 g of protein per ½ cup
Tofu takes on the flavor of the dish it is prepared in so that it can be a versatile addition to a meal. People can try tofu, as a meat substitute, in a favorite sandwich or soup. Tofu is also a popular substitute in some dishes, such as kung pao chicken and sweet and sour chicken.
3 – Lentils
Red or green lentils contain plenty of protein, fiber, and key nutrients, including iron and potassium. Cooked lentils contain 8.84 g of protein per ½ cup. Lentils are a great source of protein to add to a lunch or dinner menu.
4 – Chickpeas
Cooked chickpeas are high in protein, containing around 7.25 g per ½ cup. Chickpeas can be eaten hot or cold and are highly versatile with plenty of recipes available online. They can, for example, be added to stews and curries, or spiced with our Land & SEAsoning and roasted in the oven. Check out our Mermaid Spicy Roasted Chickpeas’ recipe for a great and healthy snack.
5 – Peanuts
Peanuts are protein-rich, full of healthful fats, and may improve heart health. They contain around 20.5 g of protein per ½ cup. Peanut butter is also rich in protein, with 8 g per tablespoon, making peanut butter sandwiches a healthful complete protein snack.
6 – Almonds
Almonds offer 16.5 g of protein per ½ cup. They also provide a good amount of Vitamin E, which is great for the skin and eyes. Grab a handful a day for a crunchy, health snack!
7 – Quinoa
Quinoa is a grain with a high-protein content, and is a complete protein. Cooked quinoa contains 8 g of protein per cup. This grain is also rich in other nutrients and is also highly versatile. It can fill in for pasta in soups and stews. It can be sprinkled on a salad or eaten as the main course.
8 – Chia & Hemp Seeds
Seeds are low-calorie foods that are rich in fiber and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are a complete source of protein that contain 2 g of protein per tablespoon. Add chia seeds to a smoothie, sprinkling them on top of a plant-based yogurt. Similar to chia seeds, hemp seeds are a complete protein. Hemp seeds offer 5 g of protein per tablespoon. They can be used in a similar way to chia seeds.
9 – Beans with Rice
Separately, rice and beans are incomplete protein sources. Eaten together, this classic meal can provide 7 g of protein per cup.
10 – Potatoes
Often maligned as being high in carbs and in calories, potatoes are actually packed full of nutrients. A large baked potato offers 8 g of protein per serving. Potatoes are also high in potassium and Vitamin C. Just watch the toppings (butter, cheese, sour cream, bacon, etc.) In addition to baked, try cutting potatoes up in cubes, toss with a little bit of olive oil, sea salt and fresh rosemary and roast in the oven. (Avoid highly processed potatoes such as potato chips and those cooked with fat such as french fries.)